Redskins

Patriots hoping to contain 49ers QB Kaepernick

Patriots hoping to contain 49ers QB Kaepernick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Colin Kaepernick is giving the New England Patriots some extra things to think about this week.

As if defending perennial Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore wasn't enough of a concern, the Patriots (10-3) now must focus on curtailing San Francisco's shifty quarterback in front of a national audience Sunday night.

``Our job is to contain him, running and passing,'' New England defensive end Chandler Jones said Friday. ``Kaepernick's a good athlete. He can throw the ball and he can run as well. It's our job to contain him.''

Easier said than done.

The Miami Dolphins last week discovered first-hand how difficult that task can be.

Trailing by seven late in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins' defense surrendered a 50-yard touchdown run to Kaepernick, who deftly deceived the defensive line with a perfect play-action fake, bounced outside and darted untouched up the left sideline for the clinching score for the 49ers (9-3-1).

``Everybody came to me and Mr. Everything did his thing,'' Gore said after the win.

The highlight-reel run also served noticed to the rest of the league - there is no quarterback controversy in the Bay Area.

``He's a guy that can do a lot. Just that last run he had against Miami last week where he's able to just hit the sideline and pull away from everybody and he has a very strong arm,'' Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. ``So, another young quarterback that we're playing that we're going to just try to make things tough on him, do different things, but he's really grasped onto the offense fast. He hasn't played in many games, but he's been very productive.''

Kaepernick's primary numbers don't jump out at you - three passing touchdowns, five touchdown runs and a 67.4 completion percentage. Yet the 25-year-old has just one interception in 129 pass attempts, has eclipsed 200 yards passing in three of his four starts and is averaging 7.6 yards per carry.

``He has one interception. As a young guy to be playing football and playing at a high level like he's doing, he's not making many mistakes at all and he's not throwing into coverage where guys are just dropping balls,'' McCourty said. ``I think because of his arm strength, he's able to even throw in some tight windows and get the throw in there and it's the right read. So it's going to be tough for us.''

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh earlier this week highlighted Kaepernick's top qualities, saying he's fast, powerful, smart and reads the field extremely well.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick sees similar talents.

``I think the two most important things for a quarterback are his decision making and accuracy. I could probably go out there and read the field decently but I don't think you'd want me playing quarterback,'' Belichick joked. ``There are other guys that can thread a needle but maybe not see as well, but I think the combination of seeing the field, making good decisions and accuracy is really what it comes down to more than some other qualities.

``I think he's done it to a degree,'' he added. ``He's a young, improving quarterback. It looks like he gets better each week and probably plays with more confidence and does things a little bit better each week. But, I wouldn't disagree with (Harbaugh).''

Kaepernick started the season as the backup to Alex Smith, who just last season led San Francisco to within one victory of the Super Bowl and had the 49ers at 6-2 and atop the NFC West before going down with a concussion in the first half against St. Louis on Nov. 11.

The 36th overall pick in the 2011 draft then calmly stepped under center and inherited the starting role even with Smith healthy enough to return.

``This guy, he can throw the football, he has a strong arm, he's pretty accurate. For the most part, he makes pretty good decisions,'' said New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork. ``To be playing only a couple of weeks, he makes some good plays for this team.''

The Patriots defense, however, poses perhaps the most formidable test yet for the mobile quarterback.

Their run defense is eighth in the league, surrendering just more than 100 yards a game. And while the unit still ranks 29th against the pass, it has vastly improved since the acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib, who has played in four games for the AFC East champions. New England has won seven straight, including a dominating 42-14 victory over the first-place Houston Texans on Monday.

``Defensively, turnovers and points allowed, that's really what decides the game,'' McCourty said. ``We can pull up a bunch of different stats, but how many points have you given up and try to take the ball away. So for us, it stays the same throughout the season.

``We'll have our work cut out for us this week. This team and this offense, they do a good job of taking care of the ball, so we're really going to have to try to go out there and make our own plays in the passing game and running game.''

For the 49ers to win, so will Kaepernick.

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The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

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USA Today Sports

The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

Don't look in this space for an argument that the Redskins - who are reportedly signing Mark Sanchez as Colt McCoy's backup - should, or should not, sign Colin Kaepernick.

This space will lay out reasons why the Redskins should, and should not, consider signing Colin Kaepernick. 

It's not a binary decision. In fact, it's just about the opposite. 

Any debate about Kaepernick often gets bogged down in differing political view points. This is not the place for that. Rather, here is an attempt to make the case for or against Kaepernick from a football perspective. 

The case to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • The Redskins need a quarterback. Alex Smith broke his leg and Colt McCoy needs a backup. Of the available free agents out there, Kaepernick has by far the best stats and resume. As Chris Thompson explained of Kaepernick, "He made it to a Super Bowl." When he last played in 2016, Kaepernick had 16 TDs against just four INTs in 12 starts. 
  • Kaepernick has familiarity in the West Coast offense, and once backed up Alex Smith and played with Vernon Davis. 
  • Redskins QB coach and passing game coordinator Kevin O'Connell worked on the 49ers staff with Kaepernick.
  • Multiple Redskins players, including Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, said that the Nike pitchman deserves another chance in the NFL. 

The case not to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL for nearly two full seasons. He hasn't practiced in a professional setting for more than a year. The Redskins are competing for the NFC East title. If they have to go to a backup QB, they want somebody that is game ready. It's hard to think Kaepernick fits that bill today. 
  • Earlier this season, Redskins CB Josh Norman had some choice words for Kaepernick after Panthers safety Eric Reid spoke out against the NFL Player's Coalition. Norman is an active particpant and leader on the Player's Coalition, a social rights group that Kaepernick distanced himself from. Putting Norman and Kaepernick in the same locker room might create some friction for a first-place team. 
  • At 6-4, the Redskins are in first place in the NFC East and should still be able to win games with McCoy at quarterback. Regardless how one feels about Kaepernick's activism, it will create a side show for any organization that brings him in. Cable news outlets like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will descend on the Washington locker room should Kaepernick get signed. 

 

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

    The Capitals take on the Montreal Canadiens to finish off a four-game road swing on Monday (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Washington has won two of its first three games on the trip and look to take win No. 3 in Montreal.

    Here are four things to watch:

    Braden Holtby is back, but Pheonix Copley will get the start

    The Caps reassigned Ilya Samsonov to the Hershey Bears on Monday signaling that Braden Holtby will be back in the lineup for Monday’s game, but Pheonix Copley will still get the start.

    Copley has been impressive on the road trip getting all three starts thus far with a .922 save percentage and 2.01 GAA. It says a lot that even with Holtby back, the Todd Reirden is still willing to put in Copley. Per Isabelle Khurshudyan, Reirden said he wanted to get Holtby back into his routine before starting him.

    No Oshie, no Kuznetsov

    T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov were both injured in Wednesday’s game and will be out of the lineup in Montreal.

    Here is a look at the lines from the morning skate:

    Alex Ovechkin – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson

    Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – Andre Burakovsky

    Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly

    Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Brett Connolly

    Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
    Michal Kempny – Matt Niskanen
    Christian Djoos – Madison Bowey

    It is important to remember that when the Caps finally get healthy, they will have two extra forwards on the roster. While the Caps can afford to keep two, most teams typically only carry one and Washington may look to trim one of those extra forwards in the coming weeks. That makes games like this one where more players are getting into the lineup and getting more minutes because of Oshie and Kuznetsov’s absence critical for those players who may or may not be fighting to stay on Washington’s roster.

    Todd Reirden remembers

    The last time these two teams met, things did not go that well for the Caps. Washington had a 4-3 lead late in the third period, but the Canadiens would score three goals in the final 3:04 of the game to win it 6-4.

    Reirden has not forgotten about that game and called a fake goalie interference challenge late in Colorado on Friday just so he could remind his team to finish strong.

    “It was a situation where a few weeks ago we had the lead and let it go against Montreal and it was something that we discussed with our team,” Reirden said following Friday’s game.”

    Reirden reminded the players about how that game ended as a way to motivate them in Colorado. How much more will he remind them about it on Monday in a rematch against the Canadiens and will it lead to a stronger finish for Washington?

    Max (Power) Domi

    Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin has been widely criticized for many of the moves he has made while with the Canadiens. It appears this summer, however, like he may have done something right.

    Bergevin acquired forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk. It is a deal that looked decidedly one-sided in favor of Arizona, but let’s take all of the context out of it for one moment and just look at how Domi is performing right now. He looks like a tremendous player.

    Domi has already racked up 10 goals in just 20 and comes into Monday on a nine-game point streak, a streak that started on Nov. 1 in the game against Washington. He has far and away been the team’s top offensive threat this season and leads Montreal in points with 24, seven more than second-place Tomas Tatar.

    Speaking of Tatar, he is also someone the Caps will have to look out for as he has seemingly settled in with his new team and has six goals in his last six games.

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